Mindset, Mindset, Mindset by Paul Bamonte, Federal Manager, Department of Homeland Security &
Key Executive MPA Alum
March 2020 will go down in the history books, hopefully, as lessons gained from the COVID-19 global pandemic that shook the world and touched every single person worldwide. A crisis so tragic, as of this writing, taking the lives of nearly 5000,000 people.
I say hopefully gained because a repeat of such a tragedy, be it in the realm of possibility, could again change individuals and societies, possibly in more significant ways we can’t imagine.
Take a moment now to consider who we were as a society in February 2020.
For many of us, myself included, we have been able to work from home, a luxury for which I have gained untold gratitude. With the time gained from this new work environment, I have thought deeply about the still disproportionately affected. Especially those who have had and continue to go to work, regardless of the CDC’s guidelines and the ever-looming uncertainty that will surely continue to shape our lives.
I was going to focus this blog post on the Spring 2020 Edelman Trust Barometer update, where global trust in the government is up from 54% to 65% (essentially pre and post-current pandemic). But more sobering, the second update has to do with the flip side of government trust, the rise in societal fears for “those with less education, less money and fewer resources are bearing a disproportionate burden of the suffering, risk of illness and need to sacrifice in the pandemic, and more than half are very worried about long-term, COVID-related job loss.”
This second statistic probably affects every one of us with a family member, friend, colleague, a friend of a colleague, your neighbor, bus driver, dry cleaner, or your Amazon delivery driver.
Then in May, the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis while in police custody, and the protests that followed, brought the juxtaposition of mass health and safety, people exercising their the First Amendment rights en masse, and the challenges of the political landscape.
Yes that’s right folks, all of these events in an election year. I am not saying similar events have never occurred on this scale, but with the added pandemic crisis, it tends to redefine many of our previous notions.
So now my fellow professionals, how do we interact with our teams as we reconstitute back into our physical work environment?
How do we digest the totality of what has occurred when presented with a new, uncertain environment, continue to build relationships, maintain and grow our self and social awareness, and yes, achieve the results?
Being mindful of what our employees and colleagues have experienced the past 3 months will ensure they feel invested and valued. Our mindset has enumerable impacts and is key in determining the level of success of our goals and remains one of the key capabilities we have as managers and leaders.
In this new and uncertain environment, tap into that personal courage to remain agile and open to new ways of thinking. Be there for those who need you. Engage with your teams in new ways while being an active listener. And as always, practice that continual learning every day.
About the Author
Paul Bamonte served 20 years in the United States Army in leadership positions that took him across the globe, pursuing initiatives ranging from strategic communications and public affairs, inter agency coordination, international partnership building and organizational change management and strategic planning. Paul currently serves as lead strategic planner within a mission support enterprise in the Department of Homeland Security since 2018. Prior to Paul’s retirement from the U.S. Army, he served as Public Affairs Liaison Officer with the Joint Task Force-National Capital Region to the 2017 Presidential Inaugural Committee as well in the same capacity for the 2013 Inaugural Committee. Previously, he was the Army Music Liaison Officer for Southwest Asia, Camp Arifjan, Kuwait, serving as the senior U.S. Military music advisor for U.S. Army Central Command where he initiated the first-even international partnership with the Kuwait National Guard with a subsequent visit to the United States. During this assignment, he also traveled to Afghanistan assisting in the training and partnership building with the 205th Corps Afghan National Army in Kandahar and documented his initiatives as a Public Affairs Officer to the command. In 2017, Paul earned an Executive Master’s Degree in Public Administration from the Key Executive Program at The American University School of Public Affairs in Washington, DC. He also holds a Graduate Certificate in International Affairs from The Bush School of Government and Public Service. He is a graduate of the Army’s Intermediate Level Education and the Public Affairs Qualification Course from the Defense Information School at Fort Meade, Maryland.
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